If you grew up in the 1980’s, chances are you watched quite a few cool cartoons. Arguably one of the coolest things about these was seeing a really awesome vehicle that the main characters, or even the villains, were driving or using. So get ready for a trip down memory lane as we list out the 20 coolest vehicles from 80’s cartoons.
The Gadgetmobile (from Inspector Gadget, 1983-1986)
Resembling a Toyota Supra, the Gadgetmobile was as versatile as the enigmatic Inspector himself and could transform from a police car to a minivan. It was equipped with telescopic wheels, a grappling hook, glue rockets, a battering ram, and a marvel of other gadgets that made it the best crime-fighting weapon. On top of that, it could even fly! How’s that for a crime-fighting machine?
The ThunderTank (from ThunderCats, 1985-1990)
This awesome, massive tank was built out of the metal scraps of the ThunderCats’ wrecked ship and it could proudly withstand just about anything you sent its way. Looking back, the cartoon itself wasn’t super impressive, and we didn’t get to see too much of the ThunderTank’s powers during the show as it mostly served as transport for the team. Still, it is one impressive monster!
The Phoenix (from G-Force: Guardians of Space, 1986)
Admittedly, this series wasn’t exactly popular. It featured the titular G-Force on their adventures across the galaxies to fight space crime and other evils. The team needed a way to get around, and that way was the Phoenix, a giant space ship that could send out smaller ships for the G-Force members to control. It was endlessly cool, and even those who weren’t fans of the show can admit that the Phoenix was the one good thing about it!
Optimus Prime (from The Transformers, 1984-1988)
Technically, the Transformers aren’t quite the traditional vehicle, but that just makes them even cooler. Optimus Prime is the wise and morally-driven leader of the Autobots, and he can transform into a Kenworth truck when needed. He’s strong and powerful, equipped with weaponry, and no one can deny that he just looks so cool! Plus, where else can you find a car with those kinds of martial arts skills?
Dragster of Doom (from Beetlejuice, 1989–1991)
Affectionately nicknamed Doomie, the Dragster of Doom was created by Beetlejuice himself and was given a brain so he could think for himself. Talk about a smart car! Of course, this didn’t always go well, as the vehicle would take off to chase female cars and animals and would often completely ignore his owner.
Guitar Motorcycles (from Jem, 1985-1988)
The Holograms might have been the “good guys” of this TV series, but their rivals the Misfits had one thing they didn’t: awesome guitar-shaped motorcycles. There was nothing quite like watching the band of hardcore rocker chicks come on stage on those incredible motorbikes that perfectly matched their aesthetic. Where can we get us some of those?
The Chevy Camaro G3 Thunderhawk (from M.A.S.K., 1985-1986)
Of the many Transformers knockoffs that emerged following its success, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand was one of the best. The flying car it was famous for was not only a nifty ride in itself, but it could also turn into a fighter jet on demand. It was commercialized in an attempt to imitate the Transformers’ commercial takeover, and although it never reached the same fame, no one can deny that that car is really, really cool.
The Flying Space Car (from The Jetsons, 1962-1963 and 1985-1987)
We’re not exactly sure how to classify this vehicle. It’s not quite a car, not quite a plane, and not quite a spaceship, and it also spent a lot of time as a briefcase, so there isn’t probably a definitive category for this futuristic vehicle. Its signature engine exhaust’s noise will forever bring back memories for fans of the show.
Ramrod (from Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, 1987-1988)
Originally named Bismark, the Ramrod Equalizer Unit is something of a Transformers copycat, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good one. He could transform into a spaceship or a super-strong robot to fight against evil, but that’s not all. He was a formidable and powerful miracle weapon used by the Star Sheriffs to fight against the Outriders, and he was essential to every battle won.
Ninja Turtle Party Wagon (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1987–1996)
A series starring four pizza-loving mutant turtles named after classic Renaissance figures, who are six feet tall and are also ninjas? That’s got cool written all over it! So it’s no wonder that the TMNT’s Party Wagon makes this list. Complete with computer equipment, catapults, and giant machine guns – and of course, a foot tenderizer – this vehicle was more than just a Shredder-fighting machine.
Gumby Racer (from Gumby, 1955–1989)
This wasn’t only an 80’s cartoon, as it began to air back in the 50’s, and was aimed more towards very young children. The episode featuring our car of choice was an unofficial release as part of special compilation for home media. The racecar in this episode was probably the start of the dreams of many aspiring racers who watched it, as the car was bright red and did everything real racecars do, burning rubber and all.
The Wheeled Warriors (from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, 1985)
This was another show made to compete with Transformers’ huge commercial success and push out a line of toys for pure profit. It was by no means an impressive cartoon, but since its entire story revolved around two groups of people constantly fighting each other using a wealth of cool cars with awesome add-on features, there’s no way they can’t make this list.
Ecto-1 (from The Real Ghostbusters, 1986-1991)
First brought to life in the classic Ghostbusters film in 1984, this fantastic car is a Cadillac hearse converted into a stellar vehicle for transporting the ghost-fighting team while keeping creatures from the afterlife trapped within. The cartoon series gave this car even more life as it pulled off some awe-worthy stunts and showed off how capable it was of defeating the paranormal.
Wheels & Roadie (from Pole Position, 1984-1985)
Is it cheating to have these two in one number? It’s not easy to fathom separating them! Modeled after a first-gen Mustang and a classic 80s wedge, these two crime-fighting cars belonged to a pair of stunt drivers who used them for high-tech missions. The cars could do everything, from stunts, to skiing down snowy slopes, to even talking.
Bumblebee (from The Transformers, 1984-1988)
We know, we know, this isn’t the first pick from Transformers on the list, but it’s impossible to leave out Bumblebee! He’s the heart of the Autobots, a funny and lovable character that transforms between his huge space robot form and a Volkswagen beetle form. In modern depictions, he’s also known for transforming into a Camaro when he’s in car mode. He’s the one car we’d all love to have!
Care-A-Lot Cloudmobile (from Care Bears, 1985)
When you think of cool vehicles, the Cloudmobile is probably the last thing you would think of because it’s meant to be fluffy and cute. And the Care Bears doesn’t strike anyone as a typically “cool” show. But how cool is a car made of clouds that doesn’t run on gas and comes when called? Let’s be honest, that’s what we’d all want out of a vehicle!
Cobra HISS Tank (from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, 1983-1986)
Also known as the Cobra High Speed Sentry, this tank was an essential part of the armored ground attack force of the Cobra’s. There were two mounted canons built into the vehicle, and it was quick and capable of adapting to a ton of different terrains. It might have belonged to the bad guys, but boy, was it cool.
Speed Buggy (from Speed Buggy, 1973-1983)
Now, Speed Buggy is more known for appearing in Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, but prior to that, the fun little vehicle had a show all to himself. This sentient fiberglass dune buggy and beach cruiser was highly intelligent and was always up for helping his friends solve crimes and mysteries. He was so well loved that when his series was cancelled, he just had to be brought back in other shows!
The Attak Trak (from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, 1983-1985)
This tank-line vehicle was definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it was certainly quite an awesome vehicle. It could clamber over any surface easily and was fitted with turrets that were essential to fighting Skeletor and his evil plans.
The Mystery Machine (from Scooby-Doo, 1969-present)
The iconic Mystery Machine might just be a simple van, but it is cool because it represents a series that has been endlessly loved for decades. The paint job on the van is something out of the 60’s and 70’s, so it might make not be the most badass of designs, but this vehicle has taken our favorite crime-solving team through their impressive record of solved cases. And you can’t say it isn’t a memorable van!